Becoming a Dutch national through option

Last check: 30-08-2021

It is possible to obtain Dutch nationality by means of an option application. However, this application is not open to everyone. On this page you read more information about who can apply for option and how to apply for it. 

Contents

Who is the page option intended for

You are eligible to apply for Dutch nationality by means of an option application if:

  1. You live in the Netherlands with a residence permit.
  2. You live in the Netherlands as an EU national. An EU national is someone who has the nationality of a country in the EU, EEA or Switzerland. You do not need a residence permit. If your country of nationality only became a member of the EU when you were already living in the Netherlands, you must have had a residence permit during the years when your country was not a member of the EU.
  3. You live outside the Netherlands or in the Netherlands Caribbean with a residence permit. The Netherlands Caribbean consists of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten and three special municipalities: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The application procedure for becoming a Dutch national if you live outside the Netherlands is different to the application procedure if you live in the Netherlands. Read more about becoming a Dutch national if you live outside the Netherlands or in the Netherlands Caribbean.

Becoming a Dutch national has advantages and disadvantages

Becoming a Dutch national is not something you should do lightly. It is a very important decision. You must think carefully about what it means for you to become a Dutch national, as becoming a Dutch national has certain advantages and disadvantages. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a Dutch national.

Who can apply for option

The option application is not open to anyone who wants to become a Dutch national. You can only apply for an option if your particular situation is on this list:

If you were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands

  • You are an adult. You are an adult once you reach the age of 18 or from the age you got married. You were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and you have been living in the Netherlands since birth. At the time of your option application you have a valid residence permit.
  • You were born in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. You have been stateless from birth. This means that you do not have a nationality. You have been living in the Netherlands for at least 3 consecutive years with a valid residence permit.

If you are a minor

You are a minor if you are younger than 18. Please note: If you are younger than 18 but you are married, you are no longer a minor.

  • You have been acknowledged by a Dutch man. You have been continuously cared for and brought up by that Dutch national for at least 3 years. That period of at least 3 years must run until the day of your option application. You are not yet a Dutch national by birth or by means of paternity acknowledgement. Find out more about being a Dutch national by birth or paternity acknowledgement. Or because a judge has determined the fact that the Dutch national is your father.
  • Since birth you have been under joint parental authority exercised by one of your parents who is non Dutch together with a Dutch national. Joint parental authority has been established automatically (by law) or is the result of a court ruling in the Netherlands. You have been cared for and brought up by that Dutch national for a period of at least 3 years since establishment of the parental authority. You do not live in the country of your nationality.

If you are an adult

You are an adult once you reach the age of 18. Or from the date you got married if you married before your 18th birthday.

  • You have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands from the age of 4. You have always had a valid residence permit and you still have a valid residence permit.
  • You are a former Dutch national. You already have been living in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for at least 1 year. You have a permanent residence permit or a temporary residence permit with a non-temporary purpose of stay. Find out more about temporary and non-temporary purposes of stay. If your Dutch nationality has ever been revoked because you did not renounce your other nationality when you should have, you cannot make an option application.
  • You have been married to a Dutch national, or have been the registered partner of a Dutch national, for at least 3 years. The marriage or registered partnership has been for a continuous period of time and with the same Dutch national. And you have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a continuous period of at least 15 years with a valid residence permit immediately prior to confirmation that you have acquired Dutch nationality.
  • You are 65 years or older. And you have lived in the Kingdom of the Netherlands for a continuous period of at least 15 years with a valid residence permit immediately prior to confirmation that you have acquired Dutch nationality.

If you were born, adopted or married before 1 January 1985

  • You were born to a Dutch mother before 1 January 1985. At the time of your birth, your father did not have the Dutch nationality. 
    Please note: Are you – or have you become – the child of a person who has become or could have become a Dutch national? You may also be able to become a Dutch national by option. By ‘child’ or ‘becoming a child’ we mean through birth, paternity acknowledgement, adoption or court ruling. Please contact your municipality for more information.
  • You were adopted before 1 January 1985 by a woman who had Dutch nationality at that time. You were a minor at that time. The adoption was declared by a court within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 
    Please note: Are you – or have you become – the child of a person who has become or could have become a Dutch national? You may also be able to become a Dutch national by option. By ‘child’ or ‘becoming a child’ we mean through birth, paternity acknowledgement, adoption or court ruling. Please contact your municipality for more information.
  • You were married to a non-Dutch man before 1 January 1985 and have therefore lost your Dutch nationality. You are a recent divorcee or widow. You can make an option application within 1 year of the dissolution of your marriage. 

My situation is different

If your situation is not listed, you cannot make an option application. However, you may be able to obtain Dutch nationality by means of a naturalisation application. Find out if you are eligible to become a Dutch national through naturalisation.

What are the conditions?

You must meet the following conditions to be eligible to apply:

Option application for children

You and your children can apply for Dutch citizenship together if the children are minors. You must state this when you complete your option application. Your children must be living in the Netherlands at the time of the application and have a valid residence permit. Children of 16 and 17 years of age must be present when you make your application. They must indicate that they agree with the application.

Application for naturalisation of a child born during your option application

Is your child born during the application process? By ‘application process’ we mean the period between making the application and the decision on obtaining Dutch nationality. You can still submit an application for naturalisation (na-naturalisatie) for your child. Your child must live in the Netherlands with a valid residence permit for a non-temporary purpose of stay. If you apply for your child within 1 year of obtaining Dutch nationality, the application for your child’s naturalisation is free.

Documents you need

You will need to produce certain documents to show that you meet the conditions for an option application. 

Documents you will always need to provide

To submit the option application, you will always need the following documents: 

  • A valid passport or other travel document. 
  • A birth certificate from your country of origin.
  • A valid residence permit or other proof of lawful residence.

Missing passport or birth certificate

You apply for a passport or birth certificate from the government of your country. However, if you cannot do this or if you are unable to obtain your passport or birth certificate, you may be granted an exemption due to lack of documentary evidence. Find out more about lack of documentary evidence

Other documents you may need, depending on your situation

Other documents may also be necessary. This depends on your situation. Please contact your municipality for more information. 

Legalisation and translation of official foreign documents

Official foreign documents must be translated into Dutch, English, French or German and legalised. Read more about the certification and translation of foreign documents

If you have already used foreign documents in the Netherlands and they have been registered in the Personal Records Database (BRP), you do not need to obtain and legalise these documents again. 

Apply for option at your municipality

You must complete the option application in the municipality where you live. An employee of the municipality will discuss all the conditions with you and check whether you have all the required documents. If something is missing or you need to look into a particular matter, the municipality will make another appointment for you.

You complete the application form together with the municipal employee. You must also complete the following forms:

  • Statement that you will make the declaration of solidarity. By making the declaration of solidarity, you agree that the laws of the Kingdom of the Netherlands also apply to you.
  • If you are required to renounce your current nationality: a statement that you will renounce your nationality when you have become a Dutch national.
  • If you request an exemption from renouncing your current nationality: a statement to the effect that you do not wish to renounce your nationality and the reasons why. 
  • If you have children under the age of 18 and you want to include them in your option application too, please mention this at the time of the appointment. Your children will then be added to the application. Children aged 12 and above must accompany you to the municipality when you make the application. Your children will then tell the official what they think of the application. If your children are aged 16 or 17, they must also indicate that they agree to becoming Dutch nationals.

Establishing or changing your name

Your name may need to be formally established. This means that an agreement is reached on what your surname and first name will be. Establishing your name is required if you do not have a last name or a first name, for example if you have just one name or multiple names without a distinction between the last name and first names.

Cost for option

There is a fee for the option application. You pay this fee to the municipality when you submit your application. There are different fees:

  • An option application for one person costs € 196.
  • An option application together with your partner costs € 335.
  • The cost of including a child under 18 in your option application is € 22.

Decision on your application

The municipality assesses your option application. The municipality has 13 weeks to decide on your option application. This period is referred to as the decision period and is specified in law.  

Positive or negative decision

Once the municipality has assessed your application you will receive a decision. The decision will be either positive or negative. If you meet all the conditions, the municipality will confirm your option application. However, this does not mean that you are automatically a Dutch national. Find out what you still need to do to become a Dutch national. If you receive a negative decision, you will not obtain Dutch nationality. The decision will state the reasons for the negative decision.

Apply for review of the decision

You can apply for review of the decision. The decision letter of the municipality explains how to do this. 

The municipality decides late

Has the decision period passed and you have still not received a decision on your application or review? Then the municipality is late in deciding. Find out what you can do if the municipality is late with its decision (only in Dutch).​

Rules and regulations

Go straight to

Responsible

Immigration and Naturalisation Service

Questions?